Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Life Disrupted

Since midnight we are under an shelter-in-place order, joining six or seven other counties in the Bay Area. I just received the Nixle alert that Napa County will follow suit the day after tomorrow. We are supposed to stay at home for the next three weeks, and I have called it "house arrest". Of course it isn't anything like that. We can still go to the grocery store and the pharmacy; we can walk in the neighborhood or take a hike as long as we keep a distance of six feet to anybody else. The goal is to slow and hopefully eventually stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus. While this step should have been put in place weeks ago if the threat had been taken more seriously by our government, I'm glad that our local politicians have acted decisively.

While other people panic bought and hoarded toilet paper I went to the nursery yesterday and bought some plants so I can play in my garden. Yesterday I planted a pomegranate tree, something that had been on my mind for quite some time. The orange blossoms make my heart sing and the fruit is delicious. I still remember fondly the freshly pressed pomegranate juice in Turkey.

The garden has been waking up - the daffodils are long gone. My tulips came back, the peonies are pushing through the soil and the lilac is close to flowering.

I'm currently on spring break, but the high school will remain closed as well and teachers and students are getting ready for online teaching. As of today I don't know whether I need to go back to work next week since we're only two employees working in the library; I wouldn't mind going into work since I still have many textbooks to process and could do all the things that I haven't found the time for during the past several weeks.

Our German School has closed as well, but I'm keeping in touch with my students, sending them worksheets etc. Next week we will start online teaching - I'm currently figuring out the platform for it and will then test it with the staff at our campus. Ah, never a dull moment.

Apart from that there is lots I can do. Knitting, for example. I just finished this bird hat (and already sold it in my Etsy shop; I'm currently working on another one) and this pair of striped mismatched socks. Fortunately I have a good stockpile of yarn, and if I ever run out I can just email my local yarn store to get more.

I have also started to paint again. What a coincidence - I've signed up for a free five-day course called "The Layered Page" by Kellee Wynne - the tutorials are short videos of about 20 minutes, packed with ideas and techniques. I haven't painted or done any kind of mixed media art for two years or so and thoroughly enjoy this endeavor. Finally I've worked with the Gelli Plate that I got two or three years ago and hadn't used until this class. It's so much fun to create paper and collages.

And there's time for baking! Today I baked a loaf of whole wheat bread and a German hazelnut braid. Both are delicious - I'm afraid this "shelter-in-place" will result in a few more pounds on my hips.

We're also still getting mail - just today I received two gardening books that I had ordered. You can never have too many gardening books. The title under Kibeau's tail reads "Deer Resistant Design".

Do you think I will hit boredom anytime soon?

Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Lonesome Crab Cage

When I recently walked along the mostly deserted beach I came upon a crab cage or crab pot that was standing upright beneath a huge piece of driftwood. I first saw it from further away and couldn't quite make out what it actually was, but it became clear when I approached it. It must have been deposited here during a very high tide. Of course I took a closer look and put my camera to use.

Here on the West Coast crab cages are mainly used for catching Dungeness crab, both commerically and recreationally. Dungeness crab season starts on November 2nd, but over the past two years it had been delayed because of too few or too small crabs. The last full season we had was in 2017-2018. This season only started in December, a whole month late, and most of the commercial fishermen have already stopped since there were fewer crabs. There are still some very hardy fishermen who hold on and will try to catch crab until April. It's a hard way to make a living.

Crab of course is the main food at a crab feed of which we used to have quite a lot all over the county in the first few months of the year. Crab feeds are fundraisers, and we once were invited by our neighbors in our old neighborhood to join them. It was a lot of fun, albeit a bit messy.

Then I remembered that I had my lensball with me - I had fun playing around with it.

I wonder whether the crab cage will still be there when I go to the beach the next time.